Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Vengeful Heart

Chaper One

The haunting of Janice Trahan began on the sultry Louisiana evening of August 4, 1994.

It was deep dark in Lafayette, the capital of Cajun country, about 70 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, and the thirty-four-year-old nurse was asleep, her three-year-old son, Jeffery, beside her in bed.

Then Trahan suddenly sensed a presence in the room. She looked up. By the dim light from the open bathroom door she saw Dr. Richard Schmidt, her estranged lover and the sleeping toddlers father, standing over them. He had a hypodermic needle in his hand.

Janice Trahan (The Advertiser)
Janice Trahan
(The Advertiser)
Janice didnt immediately sense her peril. Although she just recently had severed a destructive ten-year relationship with Schmidtthey hadnt seen one another since July 19 this visit was not a surprise. Before their break-up, Richard had begun giving Janice B-12 injections hed prescribed for her chronic fatigue. Tonight, hed called to say he was coming over to give her another one. Janice even left the front door unlocked for him.

Yet the 46-year-old gastroenterologist seemed surprisingly nervous. Janice sleepily protested shed decided against the shotit was too late, she was tiredyet Schmidt ignored her, and proceeded with the injection before she could react.

There came a second surprise. Accustomed to the injections, Trahan knew what to expect. But this time there was searing pain as Richard squeezed the syringes contents into her left arm. The fluid was the right color, light pink; but she never had experienced such agony from a B-12 injection.

No sooner was he finished than Dr. Schmidt hastily departed, explaining that he was needed in a nearby ER. Later, when the throbbing in her arm did not subside, Janice paged him. At first Schmidt was angry, accusing his former lover of checking up on him. But when she explained her pain and confusion, the doctor softened. He promised, as she later told the court, he wouldnt give me another injection in the dark.

He wouldnt need to.


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